I visited Brighton for the first time recently to celebrate Duskman's 30th birthday and I can report I had a fabulous time. Many factors contributed to it being brilliant but a large part of the experience can be attributed to our stay at The Lanes Hotel, a lovely little family run hotel located not in the historic Lanes area of the town as the name implies but on Marine Parade facing the seafront at Brighton. I must confess the Lanes Hotel was not our first nor second choice for accommodation whilst in Brighton. We initially had planned to spend only one night in Brighton and stay in a trendy boutique hotel or somewhere that had luxurious facilities such as a pool and sauna. . However we did not realise that most decent hotels only took two night bookings at the weekend in spring and summer. It was time for a rethink and to look for more modest accommodation as two nights at a boutique hotel would be well over our budget. After rejecting anything way out of town, anything that did not have good reviews on an independent travel website (I did not an to be stock in a glorified dosshouse) and any bland faceless Premier Holiday Lodges we were left with two options. The first one was fully booked so The Lanes it was to be. It's a family run, traditional small hotel with 40 bedrooms of various types. It is awaiting classification by the English Tourist Board. The Lanes was very easy to book. They do have on line booking on their site but we decided to book by phone just to make ultra sure we had a bed for the two nights we were in Brighton. The booking process was fairly standard and easy with them, taking our requirements and my debit card number not to be debited unless we did not turn up. We booked a a side facing double room which cost £180 altogether (£110 for the Saturday night and £70 for the Sunday). Their prices start at £60 for a single room or a room facing the back and go up to £140 for the sea facing rooms with four poster beds. I felt the prices were perhaps little bit expensive for the facilities offered but I think that is the normal price for a semi decent hotel in Brighton. On of the best things about the hotel is that it is very easy to find being on the seafront. We arrived by coach (the coach park is very central location just behind the pier) and it was only a ten minute walk from there (it's a 15 to 20 minute walk to the North Lanes and other attraction in Brighton ). It was also very easy to find as it is a red brick Victorian building with a gabled roof, which distinguished it from all the white Georgian terraces that predominate Brighton's seafront. There is limited parking at the hotel for those who come by car. My first impressions of the hotel were pretty good. The reception was quite standard and I suppose a bit unmemorable in appearance. We were told that check in was after 14 00. We arrived just after 13 00 and they allowed us to check in straight away. The process was very easy. Thus within ten minutes we were headed to our second floor room. This hotel would be suitable for disabled visitors as there was a lift up to the upper floors. We did not have much luggage but if we had it t would have been a relief not to lug it upstairs. I rarely stay at hotels so it really is an excitingly treat for me (I know those of you who stay at them for business might be a bit blasé about it) so let me share with you my survey of our room. It was a little bit hard to find as it was a side room. It might not be suitable for a person in a wheelchair as there was a little step down from the main corridor in a little alcove facing a nice flower arrangement. Once inside we were greeted by a nice clean, spacious double room with a rather good view of the sea. It might have just have been a side room but we got a lovely vista of Brighton Pier. I would sit and look at it for ages. It looked particularly pretty after dark when it was all lit up as the lights twinkled in the black sky. It was a joy to get up and catch a glimpse of the sea which was particularly blue as we had hot summer like weather even though it was April. The furnishings of the room (behead, wardrobe, desk and bedside tables) were of matching dark wood and were very tasteful and not shabby at all. There was plenty of storage space in drawers but the wardrobe like in most cheaper hotels and B&Bs had those hangers that had the handles fixed to the wardrobe so the could not be packed into suitcases! The decor of the room was really homely if a wee bit old fashioned and chintzy. There was a nice blue cover on the bed (why do most hotels have sheets, blankets and covers rather than easy to manage duvets) with matching curtains and nets at the windows. There was another nice artifice flower arrangement on the desk just to give it that little homely touch. It had the usual standard fixed hairdryer and trouser press (I still have never used one in a hotel. I must do so sometime). There was a colour portable television on a shelf above the desk but we did not switch it on so I can not comment on the range of channels offered (It seems one of the main differences between a traditional small hotel and a Boutique one is that it is a flat screen digital TV often with a games console in the boutique hotel. A facility that would not make much difference to me as I never watch TV on short breaks away. There is to much to do and see!). The hospitality tray was very standard with a selection of Typhoo tea, Nescafe (tut tut), milk, sugars, a kettle and some cups. I was disappointed not to find any nice biscuits or hot chocolate. Thus the hospitality tray was not really touched. So onto the en suite bathroom. The first thing I noticed about it was how clean and sparkling it was (I also noticed this about the toilets in the public room on the ground floor). The bathroom was tiled in very nice tasteful blue marble effect tiles and a whit bathroom suite (the toilet seat matched the rest of the wooden furniture! Am I sad to notice this or not). There was a bath with a shower over it and a clear shower screen. The water throughout was hot and plentiful. There were a number of white (but not big and not that fluffy) towels. The hotel has a policy of replacing a towel during a stay only if if it is soiled to save energy and the carbon foot print. The only thing wrong with the bathroom was the lack of free toiletries. There were two wrapped circular guest soaps (the type you would give your Great Aunt Joyce for Christmas) and that was it Our room was nice and comfortable as was the bed. Our next door or upstairs neighbours certainly enjoyed their stay. Whilst having a late afternoon nap we were disturbed by the creak of bedsprings and the woman's rather vocal ecstasy. This continued later in in the evening and in the morning. I wondered if Sting was in the building as this couple were at it like rabbits on speed and Viagra. However it did not mar our stay too much Downstairs on the ground floor were the public rooms. There was a little bar facing the reception. This was open until midnight on weekdays and 02 00 on weekends. This was a useful facility as it was nice to have a night cap before bed. It was not extortionate either. Two Baileys cost us £4.60 whilst a Pimms and lemonade and a Strongbow cider cost just over £6. What really made our stay was the friendliness of the barman. Duskman was commenting on them having Creme Caramel Baileys (something we had fancced trying but did not want to buy a whole bottle). Apparently the owners had picked it up by mistake thinking it was normal Baileys. After this conversation the barman poured us a shot of the Creme Caramel Baileys on the house. It was touches like this that made us feel welcome and more inclined actually to buy drinks at the bar. Leading off the reception there were the Noel Coward Suite and the Ivor Novello Suite. The firs on is a lounge with comfy chairs and good views over Brighton's promenade. It was nice to have relax in whilst waiting for our friends or just sititn there sipping our night cap last thing at night. The other room was the wooden paneled breakfast room. One criticism I would have would be perhaps the tables were packed a little too close together but that would be my only criticism. The menu although not extensive was good and the food was freshly cooked. There was cereal or fruit (prunes or grapefruit) washed down with orange juice, coffee, tea or hot chocolate, then a nice big English breakfast or a vegetarian one (i.e without the sausage and bacon. No Quoen sausages here) and plenty of hot toast. The service in the breakfast room like in the bar was quick, friendly and very helpful. They got my order slightly wrong (just the style of egg, they gave me a fried egg when I ordered scrambled egg) and this was rectified within five minutes (thus I know all the eggs were cooked individually and not sat on a hot plate for two hours). We actually only had our breakfast in the breakfast room once as we opted to pay a £10 surcharge on the second morning to have our breakfast in bed. We asked for a 9 00 breakfast and at 9 o clock on the dot th breakfast was delivered to our room. This was a little bit of luxury for us. As noted the staff were always very smartly dressed in black and white uniforms and were realty helpful. This helpfulness extended to when checking out. The official checking out time was 10 30 but they said we could do it slightly later. We did check out before then and were able to leave our luggage locked away in the breakfast room as our coach was not until 17.00 I am glad we chose the l Lanes Hotel. I would recommend it to a wide range of people from those on business, to families or even those looking for a romantic weekend away due to the four poster beds and option of breakfast in bed. The only people who it might not suit are those looking for something trendy with a lot of facilities. If you want that there are plenty of boutique hotels that offer that kind of stay . What The Lanes can offer is a relaxed, traditional atmosphere with really great, friendly helpful service. www.laneshotel.co.uk 70-72 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1AE 01273 674 23
If the floods, filthy weather and dreadful train service are taking their toll, maybe you need a weekend break. you could recharge your batteries - and blow the budget - with a weekend break in a beautiful country hotel. Ashdown Park Hotel and country club in Forest Row, East Sussex, could fit the bill. Nestling in Ashdown Forest (home of Winnie the Pooh), this elegant hotel is the perfect place to relax and unwind. We chose to while away our weekend lazing in the health spa. But if you fancy something more energegic, choose from tennis, swimming, golf and a fitness studio with personal trainers. And there are miles and miles of walking trails with the forest just outside the gates. Roaring log fires in the main rooms take away the chill after a bracing walk and provide bags of atmosphere. Dining at Ashdown Park is a gasrtonomic experience. The weekend we stayed the hotel held one of their dinner nights which take place every few months. For a set price of £45 you can enjoy a themed dinner including cocktails, wine and a five-course meal. After such a magnificent feast and far too much wine, the charming bedrooms are very welcoming. Some have four-poster beds and many have fabulous views over the gardens and lake. If you want to venture further afield, there are many historical castles, houses and gardens nearby. Tunbridge Wells and Brighton are also within easy reach. Short breaks start at £195 per room per night for a two-night break, including dinner and B&B. Themed breaks include health and beauty specials and gastronomy weekends. For more information on these breaks call Ashdown Park on 01342 824988 or visit www.ashdownpark.co.uk.
I have recently comes back from a long weekend stay in Brighton, so I thought that I would post some info on the Hotel where we stayed. We originally booked a different hotel, but found that we couldn't stay there as it had a long narrow staircase (no lift) and we couldn't get our pram up the starirs, but we found this one at short notice! The Lanes Hotel is a nice Hotel on the seafront in a beautiful building, we could see the sea from our room which was nice. It's not far from Brighton Pier (Palace Pier)and an easy walk (10-12 mins into the main town centre. There are also shops and cafes in the street right behind the hotel (St James' Street). I would give it high marks for it's location. The room was pleasant with ensuite shower/loo/baisin, TV, coffee making facilities, hairdryer, trouser press plenty of room to put your clothes etc. The decor was pretty standard for a hotel, pleasant and homely. There is a bar downstairs at the reception which was reasonably priced and there was also a lounge available. I was told that it was a family-run hotel. The staff were very friendly and helpful and our 5-month-old baby was made very welcome. We had brought a travel cot because we were going to stay elsewhere, but I believe this hotel had a cot available for use, which would save on lugguage carrying if like us you don't have a car. One of the best features is that THERE IS A LIFT, which is great for the elderly, disabled and those with small children in buggies. The prices per night (from 21st April 2000) Single occupancy/ double room - £45 to £86 Twin Bedroom - £75 to £99 Double Bedroom - £75 to £130 Four Poster room - £110 to £120 Family Bedroom - £105 to £210 Waterbed - £120 These prices include a full english breakfast. The Lanes Hotel, 70/72 Marine Parade, Brighton, Sussex, BN2 1AE Tel:- 01273-674231 The prices may be a little steep, but for us, it was worth it to be within easy walking distance of the town centre, pier, sea etc. and not to have to struggle up and down several flights of stairs with a heavy buggy.
The Lanes Hotel, with views of the English Channel, is located conveniently between the Brighton Marina and central Brighton shopping area.